A flying saucer as customer appreciation?


I have to confess I love to experience customer service in Japan, but honestly as I am working in sales providing the appropriate customer service in Japan is a headache. How do you make sure that you provide unique customer service related to the sold product leaving the customer with a happy feeling remembering your company afterwards. Especially with the increased competition for paying customers it seems to me every company comes up with unique ideas to increase their customer satisfaction.
I would like to share the most recent experience with the Japanese Postal Office. Roughly once a week I have some letters or goods to be sent out and the local staff recognizes me by now. What was unusual this time that I was asked whether I like flowers. Of course I do and was then presented with the above shown plant. Leaving post office I was wondering what the connection of postal service with flowers could be… then looking closer at the name of the flower フライングソーサー (flying saucer, meaning in English UFO) I understood. Knowing now that my post office has connections to a UFO I can be sure that my mail will always arrive promptly, wherever.

Brought to you by Sibylle Ito (シビル伊藤).

6 thoughts on “A flying saucer as customer appreciation?

    • Hallo Manuela,

      vielen Dank für den Kommentar. Ich versuche mein Bestes um die vielen Missverständnisse in Bezug auf Japan aufzuräumen.

      Viele Grüsse von Tokyo,

      Sibylle Ito

  1. I tend to feel that the *appearance* of customer service in Japan is more important than the reality. One little trick that always irritates the living daylights out of me is the one where all the staff shout “Welcome!” and “Thank you” as customers enter and leave the store. Why does it annoy me? Because it means that the salesperson serving me (or cutting my hair, or drilling my teeth) is not concentrating on me, the customer. They’re being distracted from what should be their main task – providing personal service – by a manual that’s been written with the premise that the louder the noise, the better the service (JR obey the same principle when they set two different platform announcements off simultaneously, making it impossible to understand either one).

    Having said which, Japanese service is often good – but can at times be appalling. Very few Japanese restaurants seem to understand the concept of serving a party together, for example – one member of the party is quite often served the main course as the rest are finishing dessert. Usually a complaint will result in a refund or some kind of compensation, but not always.

    But when service is good, it can be excellent. I don’t go along with the myth of “Japanese service always good, others bad”, though, having encountered really excellent service in the UK, and atrocious in Japan.

    • Dear Hugh,

      your comment about your example of hair cutting and dentist definitely got me thinking. Of course not all locations provide a customer service that is perfect, but from my experience the “customer comes always first philosophy” seems for me much more alive here than my professional experiences in Europe or US. Speed of response in the business world is much quicker and I exerience a more personal approach to my inquiries or questions. Understand me right I do not have the “Japan is perfect and the rest of the world cannot live up to it ideology”. After having worked in sales in Europe and US, I only personally know that while working in Japan I have learned a lot from others on how to improve customer service.
      On the other hand I am wondering whether there could be a difference of treating one customer at the time as good as possible or then focusing on all customers at the same time.
      For sure thank you for taking time to point out this difference.

      Sibylle Ito

      P.S. I agree train announcements can create funny sounds!

  2. Sibylle Ito,
    Thought your UFO story was funny. I do agree that customer service in Japan is awesome. I love their genuine respect and thoughtfulness. the customer is always right.
    Glade

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